The Society organises a number of events on a regular (usually annual) basis, and you’ll find some general information about these here.
If you’re looking for details about a specific forthcoming Tolkien Society event (or indeed any of Tolkien-related event) have a look in the Events section.
The Birthday Toast
The Birthday Toast is an annual event which anyone, anywhere in the world can take part in.
J.R.R. Tolkien was born 3 January 1892 in Bloemfontein. To celebrate this event, on this day each year Tolkien fans around the world are invited to raise a glass and toast the birthday of this much loved author. The toast is simply:
For those unfamiliar with British toast-drinking ceremonies, to make the Birthday Toast, you stand, raise a glass of your choice of drink (not necessarily alcoholic), and say the words “The Professor” before taking a sip (or swig, if that’s more appropriate for your drink). Sit and enjoy the rest of your drink.
Tolkien Reading Day
Tolkien Reading Day began following an enquiry from a New York Times journalist in January 2002:
My grandparents were fishing folk from Buckie in the north of Scotland, carriers of the old stories and legends, and the trilogy has filled a certain hole in my life. I have many friends here in New York who were equally moved by the book, reignited by the film, and we all wondered: is there any day devoted informally to readings from the trilogy, in the way that “bloomsday” is devoted to Joyce?
The committee liked the idea so much that they choose 25 March 2002 to be the first “Tolkien Reading Day”, and the rest, as they say, is history!
The idea is simply to promote the reading of Tolkien by encouraging people to pick up one of the books and start reading. The Society suggests a particular theme each year. Many local groups organise events based in a library or museum.
AGM and Dinner
The AGM is the formal business meeting of the Society where committee members are elected and the running of the Society is discussed. This is followed in the evening by a semi-formal Dinner followed by a talk from a Guest Speaker, often a Tolkien scholar, publisher or someone explaining how his or her works affected them. Past guest speakers have included Tom Shippey, Priscilla Tolkien, Michael Tolkien and Brian Sibley.
The AGM itself only takes up a few hours of a Saturday afternoon, but given the time it takes to get there, it is usually a weekend event for members. Beginning with an Innmoot on the Friday night and then sitting and chatting or touring the town on Saturday morning. On Sunday there is often an organised tour of the town or a local heritage site, especially if it has Tolkienian connection or theme.
The AGM takes place in a different location each year and the organising of the event is usually the result of the work an individual member or smial local to the AGM venue.
The Society has hosted a seminar most summers, usually in June or July, most years since 1986. The venue location varies each time, often there is a moot on the Friday evening and a trip to a nearby place of interest on the day after to make a weekend of it for attendees.
Each Seminar consists of a programme of talks on a Tolkien-related theme (these themes are set earlier in the year when the call for papers goes out, and any member is welcome to prepare a paper. This means that the presentations range from the serious to the light-hearted and there is usually something for everyone.
Oxonmoot is the annual convention of the Tolkien Society. It is usually held at an Oxford college on the weekend nearest to 22 September (Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday).
With between 100 and 200 people in attendance each year, the moot centres on talks and panels hosted by people researching Tolkien’s works and life, and there is usually a quiz, an art show, an evening get-together with a masquerade, a remembrance visit to Tolkien’s grave in north Oxford, and last, but not least, the chance to spend a weekend in the company of other people who love J.R.R. Tolkien’s work.